Toll Road and the Capital for the Resurrection of Aceh
The inauguration of Aceh\'s first toll road by President Joko Widodo in Blang Bintang, Aceh Besar district, on Tuesday (25/8/2020), brings important meaning for the people of Aceh.
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The inauguration of Aceh\'s first toll road by President Joko Widodo in Blang Bintang, Aceh Besar district, on Tuesday (25/8/2020), brings important meaning for the people of Aceh. After three decades of conflict, Aceh has begun to rise again.
Ilyas Isti, 35, a resident of Banda Aceh, has finally been able to fulfill his curiosity about how it feels to drive on a toll road. "This is a new icon for Aceh\'s development. My hope is that it can be finished quickly and can reach Medan," he said.
Ilyas works in Banda Aceh. However, he originally comes from North Aceh regency, about 300 kilometers from Banda Aceh. At present, it takes seven hours to travel such a distance. When the toll road is completed, it will only take four hours.
I want it to be connected with economic centers, tourism, and industrial areas so that they will truly benefit the Aceh people.
The director of PT Traverious Tour and Travel Banda Aceh, Faisal, 32, enthusiastically welcomed the construction of toll roads in Aceh. At present, he offers tour packages to domestic and foreign tourists in Aceh. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, he served up to 80 tourists per month to visit tourist destinations in Banda Aceh and Sabang. Faisal intends to sell pilgrimage tour packages to the cemetery of the Sultanate of Samudera Pasai in North Aceh when the toll road is completed. "Many Malaysian tourists want to visit the former Samudera Pasai Kingdom, but the travel time is too long," he said.
The 13.5 kilometer Sigli-Banda Aceh section IV toll road, which was inaugurated by the President, connects Blang Bintang and Indrapuris. The section is part of the 74.2 kilometer Banda Aceh-Sigli toll road which is connected to the 2,765-km Trans-Sumatra toll road network from Banda Aceh to Bakauheni, Lampung.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said that the toll road infrastructure would help boost Aceh\'s economic growth. In fact, the President hoped that Aceh could become the new economic epicenter in Sumatra. To that end, the President asked regional heads to connect toll roads with centers of the economy in the regions such as tourism and industrial estates.
"The main corridor is toll. I want it to be connected with economic centers, tourism, and industrial areas so that they will truly benefit the Aceh people," said the President.
The president is optimistic that the Aceh and Lampung will be connected by toll roads by 2024. With this way, inter-provincial economic activity will continue to grow. The President wants Sumatra\'s economy will grow faster.
Aceh Provincial Government Assistant II Teuku Ahmad Dadek said the toll road between Aceh and Lampung would increase connectivity in Sumatra, inter-provincial economic activity will be more lively," said Dadek.
He said the toll road between Aceh and Lampung would facilitate economic connectivity in Sumatra. "So far, Aceh has direct economic relations only with North Sumatra. If the toll road can connect Aceh and Lampung, inter-provincial economic activities will be more lively," said Dadek.
Regarding the President\'s message, the deputy regent of Pidie, Fadhullah, said that the local government would make some adjustment to make sure that the toll road would bring a positive impact on residents.
Fadhullah said with the operation of the toll road, the distribution of agricultural commodities would be faster and the development of ecotourism that involved local residents would be more effective. When the Banda Aceh-Sigli toll road is completed at the end of 2021, the travel time will be reduced from two hours to 45 minutes.
"Banda Aceh and Pidie are getting closer and closer. We will increase tourism activities on a national scale so that the number of tourists will increase," said Fadhullah.
After the peace accord, the spirit to move forward grows again.
The inauguration of the first toll road in Aceh has a significant meaning. Decades of conflicts had deteriorated the Aceh economy. Since the signing of the peace accord between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) on 15 Aug. 2005, Aceh\'s development has grown rapidly especially related to infrastructure such as the toll road.
Sociologist at Malikussaleh University, Lhokseumawe, Fajri M Kasim, said that the construction of the toll roads in Aceh is a form of justice and equitable distribution of national development. As a region that played an important role in the early days of Indonesian independence, Aceh needed special attention from the central government because it had long been trapped in conflicts.
"For 30 years Aceh has lagged behind other provinces. After the peace accord, the spirit to move forward grows again," said Fajri.
National strategic projects in Aceh will also nourish the spirit of nationalism because the infrastructure development has created a lot jobs for the local residents.
Where there is people movement, the economy will grow by itself
The construction of the trans-Sumatra toll road, which consist of 18 segments, can employ 24,700 workers. In fact, when all the toll road segments are operated by 2024, the number of workers employed could reach as many as 296,000 people.
Lecturer of economics at Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh, Amri, said the toll road would make the distribution of goods and the movement of people more smooth. The ease of connectivity encourages the growth of new economic centers, especially in areas where toll gates were located. "Where there is people movement, the economy will grow by itself," said Amri.
Following the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Indonesia\'s independence and 15 years of the peace agreement between the Indonesian government and GAM, President Jokowi inaugurated the first toll road in Aceh. It can help Aceh become Indonesia\'s new economic epicenter in Sumatra. (NTA)